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Back to Biz: Morning Minutes, April 27, 2016

Well, finally, back to business in 219 today. Seven days seemed an eternity, and now, the thirty or so remaining will seem a blink as we try to fit in all that I’d like to get done before year’s end. Here’s the plan.

Sentence Study. Phrases and sentence types in the bag, we will finish up with adjective and adverb clauses and common sentence errors (fragments, run-ons, and comma splices). The goal here has been not only to have the kids identify and distinguish among these various elements but also use them correctly and effectively in their own writing. We will have a comprehensive final to wrap this up.

Real-World Writing Project. Most of our writing this year has been academic, culminating with the argumentative writing the kids just completed on the state test. Now, that out of the way, we will focus on writing that better reflects the actual kind of writing that people do in the “real world.” Here is the content of the handout that I will give the kids today.

Real-World Writing Project

Learning Questions

How does purpose affect how we write?

How does audience impact how we communicate?

How does the correctness (convention) of my writing affect audience response?


Recently, on the state test, you carefully considered the role of new media in our society, judging it in varying ways and degrees against old media. Regardless your position, there is one thing that I hope we could all agree on, new media are here to stay and will continue to evolve in ways that we cannot always predict. That said, when we take communication outside the context of academics, communicating in the real world is now more different than it’s ever been, and so, kids need experiences writing in ways that go beyond traditional school writing. Don’t get me wrong, traditional academic writing still has a place–in education, but I think we have arrived at a time where we should no longer pretend that you will write in the real world as you write in school. You won’t. After school, it is highly unlikely that you will ever write a literary analysis essay or a traditional research report.

With this in mind, we will seek to explore some different and maybe not-so-radically-different ways of writing to better help you prepare for writing in the real-world. Fortunately, we don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel because, after all, we are simply talking about effective communication, which rests on the perennial pillars of audience and purpose. Old or new, all forms of communication will always require us to consider why we are writing and to whom we are writing. Let’s write.


There are three products that I have in mind for this project.

Post on a website satisfying at least one or more of the following real-world writing purposes (RWP): Evaluate and Judge, Inquire and Explore, or Analyze and Interpret.

Mock Blog. Using your Independent Learning topic, you will create a fake blog that satisfies, at minimum, the Inform and Explain RWP.

Anthology of student writing with submissions from each student (probably two, one Express and Reflect and one Inform and Explain). This will be a collection that we will pass on to next year’s classes to create an authentic audience for you and provide mentor texts for them.



Real-World Writing Purposes (handout)

RADaR Revision (handout)

Elaborative Techniques (handout)

Mentor Texts (various handouts)

Independent Learning Project #4. This will be our final ILP of the year. Back to student choice for this one. Their mock blogs will be connected to this. Kids will present these the last week in May.

Injustice Speeches. Finally. This will be the capstone for the year. We will now focus on revising, polishing, and practicing for each kid’s moment. Additionally, and I haven’t run this by the kids yet, I would like to include a video element to this where each kid selects and shares a key passage from his/her speech, creating a highlight video of sorts to not only capture the magic but also create an “advertisement,” if you will, for next year’s group. Not sure we’ll have time for this. I’ll have to talk to my kids who are my video experts. Hope we can make it work. We will round out the year by delivering our speeches in June.

Happy Wednesday. Sorry for the long post this morning. We’ll get back to Operation Status Quo tomorrow.


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